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Maurice Henry has his eyes on the NKF title

Maurice Henry has his eyes on the NKF title

Reigning Honda Cadet Shenington Kart Racing Club Champion got his first ever NKF campaign off to a decent start with 6th at round one in March and has told Karting magazine that he wants to win the title! It may be Maurice’s first year of national racing, but he feels confident he can take the fight to the leaders especially heading into the next round, GYG.

Maurice Henry may have only started racing in 2014, but has already won two championships one of those being in his very first year! Having come via corporate karting at Daytona Milton Keynes, Maurice brought his own kart and began testing at Hooton Park.

“I remember first testing at Hooton Park. I thought the track was good, but when I went to Wombwell I really liked it so I started to race there.”

Maurice’s first year saw him enter the South Yorkshire Kart Club Championship in the Honda Cadet class as a Privateer and things seemed to get off to a good start with Maurice getting himself straight onto the top step of the podium!

As the season went on good results kept coming in, so with three rounds to go Maurice’s Dad, Cecil, decided to join the Mark Baines Motorsport (MBM) team in a bid to win the championship. “We had often got advice from Mark Baines” Cecil explained, “I didn’t know anything about the sport and the competition was getting stiffer, so I thought joining a team would give Maurice the best chance at winning the championship.”

Going into the last race of the season Maurice needed to finish 2nd to do something I doubt rarely happens, win a championship in his first year racing!

“When I crossed the line I knew I had won as I finished 2nd. I was so happy! We all were, Mark was very happy too it was such a great feeling! I couldn’t believe it!”

So, after a first season that would have been hard to top Maurice switched to the Zip Eagle chassis and decided to move away from Wombwell to compete in even more competitive grids in the shape of Whilton Mill and Shenington.

It wasn’t just Zip chassis Maurice went on as he joined the Zip Allstars Team too, run by Luke Hines, would this see him win another championship?

“For 2015 we weren’t expecting to win any races it was all about development. It was just about improving all the time. We didn’t really compete in any full championships as we tried some different tracks, but the one track we started to do very well at was Shenington.”

Heading into 2016 Maurice decided to invest in some new kit once again in his bid to try and win the Shenington Club Championship in the Honda Cadet class. Maurice also did all bar one round at Whilton Mill. All seemed well, but there was one slight problem which would make the task of Maurice winning the championship harder…

“In the Shenington championship we knew we couldn’t make two rounds which was going to make things a lot tougher. You can drop three of the twelve rounds but knowing that meant there was only room for one error. Similarly, at Whilton Mill we weren’t able to make round one which was going to make that tougher too, but I was glad I knew from the start.”

As the season got underway at Shenington Maurice got off to a great start with consistent top five finishes which was followed by a podium at round four before Maurice got a win at round five! It was a milestone passed and Maurice’s goals started to rise. When the second win of the season came at round nine it was all or nothing in terms if the championship with Maurice determined to win.

Despite his lack of experience, he did just that as he wrapped up the title at the penultimate round to take an emotional championship win! Over at Whilton Maurice’s constant improvement in results saw him take a top five position in the championship as Maurice explains.

“At the start of the year whilst drivers were preparing for Super One it was very tough but as the season went on we started getting quicker and quicker and we got some good results despite lots of bad luck. That was always the aim so to get top five was very good.”

So, heading into 2017 it was time for another step up and Maurice and the team decided to enter the ever growing NKF Championship. It’s a very competitive series and perfect preparation for Super One, something Maurice may consider at some point in the future if budget permits.

It may be Maurice’s first taste of national racing, but heading into the championship he set his goals high!

“I’m confident I can win. I’ve beaten some top Fulbeck drivers already this year so I think I can go and win it!”

Round one of the championship was just a couple of weekends ago and Maurice got off to a good start considering the problems he had over the weekend. Maurice finished 7th in the first heat, 10th in the second heat and 6th in heat three, all of which would put him 6th on the grid for the final. But then came a slight problem.

“Before the final there was a change to the timetable which we didn’t know about and we found ourselves late to the grid for the final which meant we had to go off the back. It was our own fault, but starting from 21st rather than 6th was going to be hard!”

In many ways, the mistake presented Maurice with a challenge which he grabbed with both hands and really showed what he could do! He charged through from 21st on the grid to finish in 6th place! He got into a battle with Kieran Conchie on the last lap and was just able to sneak through at the second chicane in a move that really impressed Allstars Racing Team boss Luke Hines!

The day after the race we spoke to Maurice who commented:

“Although we had problems over the weekend 6th place is still a good result. I felt comfortable racing against leaders and really enjoyed the weekend. Kieran Conchie was 2nd in NKF last year so battling with my new mate felt really good.”

“I’m still aiming to try and win the NKF and am confident as I will be heading to some tracks that I know better than Fulbeck, like Wombwell. There’s some tracks I’ve never been to before, but hopefully we can test at them before NKF.”

“I think one of the drivers to beat is Archie Carter [who won round one]. He is leading the championship and also did NKF last year. He has experience which will make it tough, but the lap times we have shown are good and we can race against the front runners.”

Post Fulbeck the team discovered a problem with Maurice’s engine which would have heavily affected him round Fulbeck with it’s long straights. With that problem fixed at round two, GYG, Maurice was able to finish 4th taking him to 4th in the championship going into round three at PFI.

Maurice’s view on the new tyres

“I personally think the new tyres can be less durable. They go off unexpectedly which has already affected us this year. The grip can just fall off even before a race weekend has finished when usually they would last a lot longer. It’s important to get the pressures right.”

5-1

5 words to describe myself

Determined, Thinker, ‘Never Give Up’

4 of my favourite tracks

Shenington, Glan Y Gors, Wombwell, PFI

3 drivers that have inspired me

Lewis Hamilton because he’s fast and never gives up,
Luke Hines because he is my coach,
Michael Schumacher because he achieved more championships and records than any other Formula 1 driver.

2 memorable moments in my career

Winning the Wombwell Championship in my first season.

Going from the back of the grid to first in a heat at Shenington .

1 goal for the future

To be a professional racing driver.

Written by Chris McCarthy

 

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